Today masks exactly a year from the time of embarkation to The Scholar Ship. To say that “time flew” would be an injustice, time really sailed, we cruised all over the world, following the sun by traveling with the Summer Season. The short 16 weeks onboard transformed the lives of many (including me) and it brought out the best and the goodness of humans.
The motto of The Scholar Ship was “Explore a world of difference”, but I really found out that it was actually an exploration of what our human baseline and our common denominator really is. Even while onboard I thought it should have read “Explore our common humanity”. I guess that wouldn’t stick too long in a marketing session. The hopeless romantic in me still thinks thats what it meant.
A year ago, as the adrenaline rush took me along with my fellow Athens’ Studios TSS friends from downtown Athens on the train to the port of Piraeus, we were all readily excited (and heavily packed) to get on Pier 4 and board the ship. The rest of the story, you already know by having read this blog, seen the flikr pictures & videos, and perhaps signing up for NautiCast in iTunes U.
365 days later I find myself “sharing my feelings” again, and while I won’t deny that I feel melancholic, I foresee an exciting future for our careers as most of us have kept in touch and met one another after the four month journey. I remain deeply committed to make sure that the program continues in some way shape or form, there was simply too much hard work weeks and months before embarkation to loose the premise of it and reap its rewards by seeding this planet with leaders who have lived, loved and discovered their common humanity.
Remember, remember, the 5th of September.]]>
View TheScholarShip (MV Oceanic II) in a larger map
The inaugural voyage is soon to draw to a close, and as we near the city of Hong Kong for our second and final rendezvous, I felt it appropriate to share with you the following quote:
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position of over those who offer up their work to ourselves and our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic actually risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”
-Anton Ego, voiced by Peter O’Toole in Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Soon we will leave the ship, the same way we came onboard it, we will (try) to pack all what we came with (and probably 3x of what we bought on every port!) and seed ourselves back into the world.
Life at Sea as it was for us, not only being the Google generation, but also the Facebook generation was a an experience that allowed us to glimpse into the reality of billions of people: We were disconnected from the world and largely at the mercy of the weather. It may be an irony to say that the “rich kids” (remember the newspaper article from Lisbon?) have -at least- this tiny bit in common with a sizable portion of humanity, but there is more wisdom to it: there is great strength in the premise of distance education, crowdsourcing, in how we care for our world being visibly aware of limited resources and our -near instant- impact in mismanaging this resources.
Being on the ship is a microcosm of what being in the world really is. However it is our challenge in the life that lies ahead of us to make sure that we continue to be agents of change: our footprint may be much smaller in the larger planet, but there is a definite impact on what can be done. If I was able to have 250 people sit on the floor of a ship for 5 hours in a spectacular evening as we neared the Panama Canal (see post on Oxfam Hunger Banquet Simulation), I think I can manage to make an impact in this world.]]>